The days of WFAN’s morning vs. afternoon show battles are over in the post-Mike Francesa era, but on Tuesday the station aired a surprisingly contentious debate between its morning show producer and midday co-host.
That would be Al Dukes and Maggie Gray, who for 18 minutes just after 9 a.m. discussed issues related to the report on Monday that former Mets manager Mickey Callaway had harassed several women reporters.
The first half of the discussion, which initially was prompted by a Twitter exchange between the two, mostly was civil and focused on the extent to which the Mets and other teams are responsible for doing a better job of vetting hires.
Things got far testier midway through, when the debate turned to the decision to have former Giant Lawrence Taylor on the midday show on Tuesday.
Dukes had written on Twitter, "You cannot blame Sandy Alderson for something Mickey Callaway did, and then have Lawrence Taylor on as a guest."
He seemed to be referring to a 2010 incident in which Taylor was arrested for having (and paying for) sex with an underage girl. In 2011, Taylor agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to probation.
"Maggie, who seems to stand up for women’s rights, as well she should," Dukes said on the air, "is having a guest on who has been convicted of bad things against underage women. Why give him a platform?"
Gray said she viewed the Callaway story and Taylor interview as a false comparison.
"Having L.T. on for 10 minutes is not me hiring someone who has a pattern of overstepping when it comes to women," Gray said.
Dukes continued to question giving Taylor a platform, including questioning whether he is a newsworthy interview subject in the first place.
"How is he even a relevant interview today?" Dukes said. "The Giants are not in the Super Bowl."
The interview with Taylor ended up being cancelled. The hosts said Taylor cancelled all of his interviews for Tuesday and that they were told the move was not connected to the Gray-Dukes discussion.
When Dukes asked Gray whether she would put on O.J. Simpson, raising the temperature of the exchange, Gray said Dukes seemed to be accusing her of hypocrisy. "I’m going to push back on that," she said.
Later in the discussion, Dukes said, "You’re a Bills fan. Would you put O.J. Simpson on to talk Super Bowl?"
Gray said she would not, and Dukes responded, "Why? He was found innocent."
When Dukes suggested she might do it if she were on Buffalo radio, Gray said, "No, Al, I think you’re kind of using this moment to kind of shout me down in this way that you think is going to make me look like some kind of fraud."
Gray noted the midday show also had scheduled Barry Sanders for an interview, and Dukes said, "Why?"
At that point, Gray had had about enough, and said, "I hope it was productive. That’s the only reason I wanted to come on."
Dukes, who on the TV simulcast appeared increasingly exasperated, then said, "What time is Greg Hardy on? Geez," a reference to the former NFL player who was arrested for assaulting a woman in 2014 and later suspended by the NFL.
"I appreciate you guys giving me the time to try to give my point of view on this thing," Gray said, ending the discussion. "Be well, everybody."